Languages & Cultures of East Asia

Trad 101, Sections 18-19-20-21   Fall 2000

Home | Syllabus | Schedule | Lecture Outlines | Assignments

Midterm Exam Study Questions

Unit 1: Introduction

1. The names and locations of the various Asian countries and language families (as given on your map assignments early in the semester).
2. "How many languages are there in the world?" and the reason why it is difficult to answer this question.
3. The top 20 languages in terms of number of speakers. (#1)
4. The ways by which two languages might resemble each other

Unit 2: Overview of Chinese, Japanese and Korean
1. Are varieties of Chinese mutually intelligible? How is the notion of Chinese as a single language sustained?
2. The number of speakers of Chinese, Japanese and Korean
3. Places where Chinese, Japanese and Korean are spoken
4. The ways to support a genetic relationship
5. The genetic roots of Chinese, Japanese and Korean
6. The linguistic neighbors of Chinese, Japanese and Korean
7. Word order of Chinese, Japanese and Korean
8. Other characteristics of Chinese, Japanese and Korean

Unit 3: Writing

1. Be able to recognize the difference between Chinese, Korean, and Japanese writing when you see them.
2. Know the four types of writing systems discussed in class (alphabetic, syllabic, logographic, and combination).
Writing systems in four languages: (Chinese characters, English alphabet, Korean hangul, and Japanese hiragana and katakana). What does one symbol represent in each of these four writing systems?
3. Understand four ways by which Chinese characters are formed.
4. Multiple pronunciations of Chinese characters (kanji) in Japanese.
5. The origin of the Japanese kana writing systems.
6. The use of kanji (Chinese characters), hiragana, and katakana in different areas in Modern Japanese writing.
7. It has sometimes been suggested that Japanese should switch to an alphabetic system. The disadvantages of doing so.
8. The advantages and disadvantages of the Chinese writing system.
9. The origin and characteristics of hangul.
10. Study Homework #1 (Chinese characters), Homework #2 (Japanese and Korean writing).

Unit 4: Cultural Concepts

1. Confucius; The Analects
2. Confucian virtues; the 5 basic relationships; "li"
3. hierarchy and reciprocity
4. Reticence viewed in Korea and US.
5. Hierarchy and in-group/out-group in Japan and Korea
6. The speaker-addressee dimension and the speaker-referent dimension in expressing politeness in Japanese and Korean
7. Does Chinese have a grammatical system to express politeness?
8. Examine the concept of politeness in Japan, Korea, China, and America. Can you say one culture is more polite than the other? Why or why not?

Unit 5: Gender

1. The influence of Confucianism on the development of traditional gender roles in East Asia.
2. The new "3 things to follow and 4 abilities" and its implications.
3. The connections between marriage and adulthood for men and women in China, Korea, and Japan.
4. Aspects of life where East Asian women have more power than men.
5. The different ways in which language use can be connected with gender.
6. Women's current situation in Asian countries: education, employment, adulthood/marriage, who holds power.
7. Different ways men and women speak and are spoken about or to in Japan.
8. Is gender marking in Chinese overt?
9. The ways gender asymmetry are reflected in Chinese

Unit 6: Speech Acts

1. Speech acts
2. Gu's maxims of politeness in Chinese.
4. Invitation in Asian cultures.
5. The five situations in Reading #21.
6. Indirect and direct requests in Chinese.

Unit 7: Cross-cultural Communication

1. What are some general causes of difficulty in cross-cultural communication?
2. How can we make cross-cultural communication work?
3. Back-channel response in Japanese and English
4. Back-channel response by Japanese speakers speaking English; Are Japanese speakers more attentive than English natives?
5. What type of unspoken, and perhaps even unrecognized, assumptions caused difficulty in the conversation between the American student and the Korean tutor?



Final study guide and FAQs

When is the exam?
December 11, Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

What is the format of the final exam?
The final will be a combination of short objective questions (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, etc.), data analysis problems (one each for phonology, morphology, and syntax), and one essay question. We will choose the essay question from the set of possible questions given below.

What materials should I study to prepare for the final exam?
study guide (this)
readings, handouts, homework assignments, in-class writing assignments, and your own notes from lectures
(There will be questions which are directly out of the readings which may not have been discussed in class.)

Possible essay questions:
1. We have discussed various issues and factors regarding multilingualism. Taking these issues and factors into consideration, discuss, don't list, two pros and two cons for supporting multilingualism in the United States. Remember you need to take both sides for this question.

2. In lectures and readings you learned about 10 linguistic features in Chinese., Korean., and Japanese. Pick ONE of these languages.
A. Give 2 linguistic features that you would expect to cause problems when a speaker of that language learns Eng. Describe the features and why there would be a problem.
B. Give a different 2 linguistic features that you would expect to cause problems when a speaker of Eng. learns that language. Describe the features and why there would be a problem.

3. Part 1: Imagine that you are an American student studying in an East Asian country (pick your favorite from China, Korea, and Japan). Write a brief letter to a friend who is a native of that country and tell your friend how things have been going. Be sure to include at least one good aspect of your life there and one problem that you are having.
Part 2: Now imagine that you are the Asian (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) friend who receives this letter, write a reply letter commenting on your American friend's letter, both the positives and the negatives. Be sure to explain why you think any expressed problems might be occurring and what your American friend might do to solve them.

Main points for each unit

Unit 8 differences within cultures
dialect groups in China; the top two (in terms of number of speakers) groups
number of minority groups in China; major ones
reasons for placing much importance on minorities by the Chinese government
preferential treatment minorities in China receive
What counts as a minority group in China
differences between North and South minorities in China with respect to language and culture

basic information about marginalized groups in Japan (Ainu, Okinawans, Koreans, and burakumin)
origin/history, residence, population, language, how they are treated.

basic information about Koreans in China
factors contributing to different levels of ethnicity between Koreans in China and Koreans in Japan
minority policy
immigrant vs. colonized minorities
territorial base
influence from Korea

Unit 9 sounds in East Asian languages
minimal pairs
phoneme vs. allophones
basic vs. derived allophones
complementary distribution
steps to follow to do phonology problems (study homework and handouts)

Unit 10 words in East Asian languages
native words, Sino-Japanese or Sino-Korean words, loanwords (Japanese and Korean)
four ways in which words are adapted when they are borrowed from English to Japanese (pronunciation, meaning specialization/change, Japanese English, abbreviation)
Germanic and Latinate words in English
free morpheme (stem/base) vs. bound morpheme (affix)
affix (prefix, suffix)
word formation processes (affixation, compounding, reduplication, morpheme-internal changes)
character = morpheme = syllable (Chinese)
word formation in Chinese
know how to do morphology problems (study handouts)

Unit 11 putting words together
word order
most frequent word orders in world languages
word order flexibility
particles (Japanese and Korean)
noun ellipsis
classifiers (measure words)
topic - comment
definite and indefinite articles
adjectives vs. verbs
negative questions
gender and animacy distinction in pronouns
how these features show up in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English
know how to do syntax problems (study homework)

Unit 12 culture and discourse
English rhetorical structures vs. Japanese rhetorical structures
how "English" speakers feel about Japanese rhetorical style
how Japanese speakers feel about English rhetorical style

primary source of stereotypical perception of Asians by Westerners and vice versa
Asian and Western call-answer patterns; function of small talk in Asian pattern
behavior, topic introduction, facework in Asian outside relationships
reasons for why Westerners visiting Asia are often frustrated
Speaking first, greeting and introducing topics in a teacher-student relationship
reasons for different behavior between outside and inside relationships